Immune system..

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Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 382
   Posted 9/21/2008 12:50 AM (GMT -7)   
This question was just posted on another Crohn's Forum that I visit occassionally but not a member of but it is a question I think about a lot.
Bascially it asks that if we are taking immunosuppressives for our disease that means our body has an overative immune system that we are trying to suppress with medications. Would it make sense to take vitamins and supplements to BOOST your immune system? Like trying to build it up and knock it down with medication?
I have taken fairly expensive vitamins for years, made and drank Kombucha Tea in the past and now drink Goji Juice (3 years) (neither of which I push or advocate has helped) just that I have always felt good so continued to do so when someone presented them to me. People thought I was the 'healthy' one, having not had a cold or flu for years.
Now that I have been diganosed with Crohn's last July in which they found a significant stricture in my colon, I am wondering if I did too much? One theory of mine is that I have had this for quite some time, it has been inflammation that has healed itself time and time again in the form of scar tissue (but they can't tell how much is scar tissue and how much is inflammation) without manifesting itself with usual symptoms of Crohn's.
I had issues 30 years ago with diarrhea and urgency at which time I went to a GI and remember drinking barium and  bending over something that was probably a rigid sigmoidoscopy? Nothing came of it and symptoms disappeared. Would like to see my medical records on this but can't find them. Maybe I've had Crohn's for 30 years? If so I've had 30 good years, even now I don't have symptoms just restricted bowel movements and 'feeling' on left side of abdomen.
Diagnosis also came as a surprise since I am not fatigued. If I get 6 hours sleep a night, I feel I function normally, and that's not 6 hours straight, usually wake up a few times.
Anyway, these our my thoughts in the middle of the night and I am going to have my first methotrexate injection on Monday. Plan is to try it if for 3-4 months, another colonoscopy and surgery if no effect on inflammation. The anticipation is probably one reason why I am awake right now.
55 yr. old F dx. CD 07/07
Was on prednisone for three months but no medication for the last 11 months. Starting methotrexate in mid-September.

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 511
   Posted 9/21/2008 6:11 AM (GMT -7)   
I wish I had an answer but I don't. That would be a good question to probably ask your doctor!
Living with Crohn's Disease since Jan./2000 but had a few years prior
I'm a true Crohnie with IBS and Arthrities too
Meds I have tried:  Too many to list- LOL
Meds currently on:  Prednisone-  I am off of it!!   YAAHH!!! :-)   
                           Methotrexate injections once a week 25mg
                           Folic Acid 5mg every day
                           Wellbutrin twice a day
No Surgeries

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 1753
   Posted 9/21/2008 7:05 AM (GMT -7)   
I'm not terribly sure either. I was wondering the same myself because I start an immunomodulator on Tuesday and am loading up on vitamin C.
The thing is, before I was diagnosed with Crohn's I was never sick either and this was even when I was around a family with violent diarrhea and vomiting OR walking a mile in freezing rain to get to my car without an umbrella or a coat. No matter what I did or where I was I would never get ill. Crohn's is the first illness I've had in years(diagnosed this past May).

I wish I had a better answer for you. It does seem odd to be countering what the TNF-blockers are supposed to do, but it may just be different mechanisms are at work and being blocked or strengthened.

Not in a heartless or inconsiderate way but the death of Bernie Mac didn't really mean anything to me at first. I heard later he was on some sort of immunomodulator though and this could be why he died(inability to combat the pneumonia complications due to suppressed immune system).

It's a little bit frightening really. I just wonder what other kind of options there will be. I know a lot of us are told we'll have to stay on these TNF-blockers possibly for life once we start them, and yet there are new medications being researched that actually employ the use of the TNF protein rather than inhibit it in order to combat different autoimmune diseases. What are we supposed to do then? Wouldn't those of us on TNF-blockers previously then have seriously impaired ability as far as TNF proteins go since they were acted against for so long?

Anyway, long tangent. My apologies. Just wondering aloud. Sort of.
20 years old, Diagnosed with severe Crohn's and colitis in May of 2008.
Currently taking:
Prednisone, pentasa, alinia, bentyl, prilosec, tandem plus, and the occasional ultracet
Surgery for ectopic pregnancy(very possibly due to Crohn's inflammation) in July of 2008.
Due to start Imuran September 17 depending on blood results.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 2739
   Posted 9/21/2008 12:35 PM (GMT -7)   
I'm not sure either. But I try to stay away from things that claim to be great in boosting the immune system. Not something I want. LOL I do take a multi-vitamin, because on the other hand we don't always absorb or get enough nutrients from the foods we eat. Kind of a catch 22 there I know.
What happened with Bernie Mac is kinda scary when you look at it that way. I didn't know that!

Diagnosed with Crohn's Disease 2/06 after sever GI bleed. Has been suffering since 1998. History of rectal fistula and gallbladder removal. Taking Asacol, Questran, Toprol XL (for high blood pressure). Tapered off prednisone a month ago!

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